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but in vain! God forbid that its friends Thould even imagine it possible! If it be true, that the scriptures of the Old Testament are able to make us wise unto salvation *, 2 Tim. iii. 15. it must be because they contain the law and the gospel; for no man can be wise unto salvation without the knowledge of these. They certainly contain both—the gospel was preached unto ABRAHAM, Gal. iii. 8; to the ISRAELITES under the Old Teftament, as well as to us under the New Teftam ent. Heb. iv. 2. We have the same spirit of faith, 2 Cor. iv. 13. and doubtless the same obječt of faith, 1 Cor. x. 4. Numb. xxi. 9. with John iii. 14, 15. Wherefore it is not to be conceived, that God should leave the heirs of salvation in a state of ignorance touching the original institution of marriage, or of the meaning of those positive laws which were to enforce it (and this after the giving of the law for 1500 years together) any more under the Old Testament than under the New Testament. It must be as necessary for a Jew, in order to be wife unto salvation, to know God's mind and will on these interesting and important subjects, as for a Chriftian. Each must be judged by the same law-each saved, though under different dispensations of it, by the same gospel.
* The Apostle adds--dece riscos tñs év Xpısø Into -through faith which is in CHRIST JEsus, i. e. believing Him to be the MESSIAH. For want of believing which, the apostate Jews were not made wise unto salvation by the scriptures of the Old Testament.
As little probable is it, that He should allow His own beloved children to fly in the face of His authority, and live in the breach of His positive law, for so long a
long a period, without the least check or reproof, when part of His gracious covenant runs in these words, Pf. lxxxix. 30. If his children forsake my Law, and walk not in my JUDGMENTS; if they break my statutes, and keep not my COMMANDMENTS; then will I vist their offences with the rod, and their fin with scourges. There are instances enough of this for other things—witness David's broken bones, Pf. li. 8. for his adultery with BATHSHEBA, and murder of URIAH. But where is there one instance of it for polygamy? Wherein did God ever punish it? David died as really a Chriftian believer as St. Paul did; witness his last words, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5; and yet, amidit all the explicit confessions he made in the most folemn hours of his repentance, he does not once * bewail the polygamy he lived in ; nay, almost the last act of his life was an act of polygamy, in taking ABISHAG
* Which is very extraordinary, and indeed unaccountable, if to have more than one wife at a time be a mortal fin. The character also which we have of David, 1 Kings xv. 5. has, upon this principle, a degree of obscurity, which must render it wholly unintelligible-for how can it be said of a man, who lived and died in an open, avowed, wilful, and continued course of deliberate iniquity, that he did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from any thing that He commanded him all the days of his life, fave ONLY in the matter of URIAH the HITTITE ?
the Shunamite to lie in his bofom, his wife BATHSHEBA being then living. For though it be said, 1 Kings i. 4. that he knew her not; yet it plainly appears, by what SOLOMON said, 1 Kings ii. 22, 23. that she was so betrothed or espoused to DAVID, as to be looked upon as his wife *. Accordingly she belonged to the crown ; was to be at the dispofal of the succesor; and therefore ADONIJAH, who was elder than Solomon, by asking for ABISHAG, the late king's widow, to wife, is treated as having a treasonable design against the crown itself, and is put to death as a traitor.
Is it then conceivable that polygamy, allowed of God uninterruptedly through so many ages and generations with impunity and even approbation, should all of a sudden start up into a mortal fin, by the seventh commandment's receiving a construction which it never before had—which was never before given to the words in which it was conceived ? How could our lives and properties be secure, if time could alter the meaning of our penal statutes ?-who will draw the line, and say how much or how little time is necessary to effect this? But if fuch can be the case with the moral law of God, then was the Psalmist mistaken in calling it perfect (Pl. xix. 7.) for it is changeable.
* Comp. Deut. xxii. 23, 24. where a betrothed virgin is called the man's wife, so as to make it adultery to defile her.
Then is it less to be depended on than the laws of the Medes and Perfans. Eftb. i. 19. --- less façred than the decree of an earthly monarch. Efb. viii. 8. Dan. vi, 15. If this be the case, what man can have any security for his peace ?-In order therefore to avoid something worse than absurdity, we must conclude, that the original institution of marriage, and the seventh commandment of the decalogue, mean neither more nor less, where Christians are concerned, than where the Jews were-or, in other words, they mean precisely one and the same thing under the New Testament as under the Old Testament.
By taking texts here and there in the New Testament, and detaching them from their reference to and connection with the Old Testament, many bereses have arisen; as Arianism, Socinianism, and perhaps most others, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures. So with regard to marriage--because Christ said-Some make themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's fake : be that is able to receive it, let him receive it (Matt. xix. 12.) ; and St. Paul, i Cor. vii. 1. and in other parts of that chapter, speaks in favour of a Jingle life, with respect to the then distressed state of the church (yer. 26) there were mul, titudes of people, in the early * ages of Chrif,
* $. There arofe in the church from antient times, sects “ of heretics, who condemned wine, and the use of ani
mal food, and marriage; and not only heretics, but " the orthodox also, ran into extravagant notions of the
tianity, who took these things in a wrong sense, and found out that " marriage was a “ carnal thing, and forbidden by the New “ Testament, as unbecoming the purity of “ that dispensation :" little reflecting, that the command of increase and multiply, and the institution of marriage as the means thereof, were the dispensations of God Himself to our first parents when they were in a state of perfect innocence, and therefore could not be incompatible therewith.
That venerable man John Trapp, on i Cor. vii. 8. says-" The blemish will never be
wiped off some of the antient * fathers, “ who, to establish their own idol of I know
not what virginity, which they themselves “ had not, have written most wickedly and
bafely of marriage.” To say truth, I cannot conceive any man's conscience to be more taken captive by the devil (2 Tim. ii. 26) than
“ same kind, crying up celibacy and a solitary life be“ yond measure, together with rigid and uncommanded “ aufterities and macerations of the body. (Fortin, “ Rem. vol. i. 278.)-Christ therefore, as we may con“ jecture, was present at a marriage-feaft, and honoured " it with the miracle of turning water into wine, that it " should stand in the gospel as a confutation of these “ foolish errors, and a warning to those who had ears to • hear, not to be deluded by such fanatics. St. John, “ who records this miracle, lived to see these false doc“ trines adopted and propagated.” Ib.
*.“ Jerom, Ambrose, and other fathers, have de“ claimed against matrimony, and recommended monk“ ifh abftinence almost as much as Manes, and have employed almost as insignificant arguments.”
Id. vpl. ii. p. 69,